Is the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), which conducts class X and XII exams like the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), a public authority as per the transparency law RTI?
This question was raised before the Delhi High Court today.
The issue assumes significance as like the secondary school certificate exams conducted for classes X and XII by the CBSE, those by CISCE too are a basis for admission to educational institutions here and abroad.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru, while listing the issue for consideration on November 17, said it was an "anomalous situation" where CBSE was a public authority under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, while the CISCE which performed the same functions did not fall under this law.
Central government standing counsel Jasmeet Singh, appearing for the Human Resource Development Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office, said CISCE was only a society and not a public authority and therefore, it would not come under the ambit of the RTI.
He said CISCE was not controlled by the Centre as in the case of CBSE and added that the Central Information Commission (CIC) has rightly held that the Council did not come under the ambit of RTI.
The CIC, in an order of July 15, 2016, had denied the information sought by petitioner Mukesh Kumar Jain, saying that CISCE did not fall under the RTI Act.
The information sought by Jain in 2011 included details of the syllabus fixed by the CISCE for several years as well as the manner of fixation.
He had also sought information about subject-wise strength of students appearing across India in the class 10 and 12 exams held by the Council.
The information was denied by the CISCE and his appeal to the CIC was unsuccessful.
Thereafter, he had moved the high court challenging the CIC order.